Last year, an Arkansas
state trooper flipped a pregnant woman's car on the highway while she was looking for a safe place to pull over, according to the woman, who is now suing the officer, Senior Cpl. Rodney Dunn, for using deadly force negligently.
Nicole Harper, 38, was filmed driving
down Highway 67/167 in July 2020, allegedly doing 84 mph in a 70 mph zone, according to dashcam video released this week.
Dunn activates his lights and siren and chases Harper, who immediately slows down, moves into the right lane, and activates her hazard lights.
According to the lawsuit
, Harper was unable to pull all the way over due to the narrow shoulders on that stretch of highway, so she continued driving in the right lane at 60 mph with her hazards on.
Roughly two minutes later, Dunn used what is known as a "precision immobilization technique" against Harper's vehicle, intentionally causing it to lose control. In the video, you can see Harper's SUV swerve left, toward the concrete highway median, and flip upside down within seconds.
A cop flipped over a pregnant woman's car because she didn't pull over quickly enough. Not only was what she did not wrong, but it is what you are supposed to do: turn on your hazards to indicate you are complying and pull over at the next safe place to do so...This man is still a cop. pic.twitter.com/kvNEeEmdf6 — Stephen Ford (@StephenSeanFord) June 9, 2021
Dunn approaches the flipped car and asks, "Why didn't you stop?" as he helps Harper out of the vehicle.
“Because I didn’t feel safe,” Harper responds, to which Dunn responds, “This is where you ended up.”
“I thought it would be safe to wait until the exit,” Harper says, to which Dunn responds, “No ma’am, you pull over when law enforcement stops you.”
“I did slow down, I turned on my hazards, and I thought I was doing the right thing,” Harper later explains.
The first item in the Arkansas State Police
's Driver License Study Guide
for "what to do when stopped by a law enforcement officer" is: "Pull over to the right side of the road activate your turn signal or emergency flashers to indicate to the officer that you are seeking a safe place to stop."
Harper, who was pregnant at the time of the crash
, told Fox 16 that she was afraid she would lose the baby, but her unborn child
Arkansas State Police Director Col. Bill Bryant did not comment on the specifics of the case in a statement to KARK, but he did defend the use of PIT maneuvers in general as an important tool in stopping fleeing drivers.
“Over the past five years, Arkansas State Troopers have documented a 52% increase in incidents of drivers consciously choosing to ignore traffic stops initiated by the troopers,” Bryant said. “The fleeing drivers pull away at a high rate of speed, wildly driving, dangerously passing other vehicles, showing no regard for the safety of other motorists, creating an imminent threat to the public.